Monette Fire Department trains, purchases new equipment

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

The Monette Fire Department has used 2002 grant money to outfit firemen, purchase new emergency equipment, complete training and is now looking at completing the construction of a new safe room command center in 2003.

The department was awarded a $65,772 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency last year and has used all but $7,500 of the funding to complete their mission. Personal protective equipment purchased included 23 helmets, 23 coats and pants, 23 pairs of boots, 23 pairs of gloves, 23 hoods, 23 PASS devices, 23 flashlights, eight encapsulated suits, 48 Tyveck suits, and other needed items, a ventilation fan, computer and a thermal-imaging device.

Seven firemen have completed the first two phases of HAZ/MAT training, at the Arkansas Fire Department Academy in Jonesboro. Each of the firemen spent 52 hours of training.

Total expenses for the equipment and training totaled $73,080, with the applicant paying 10 percent and the FEMA grant paying 90 percent.

The department has completed furnishing their emergency rescue truck with first responder gear, jaws-of-life and generator. They have a new tanker truck, which carries 2,000 gallon of water. They currently have the capability of delivering 5,700 gallons of water to the scene of a fire.

"We requested a grant addendum to allow us to spend the remaining money for things not mentioned in the original grant application," Bob Blankenship, Monette Fire Chief, said. "We have until December 31 to complete usage of the funds. We plan to update a variety of things in the city in preparation of an ISO inspection next year, in hopes of improving our fire rating."

In December 2002, Monette was awarded a 30/20 grant for $120,000 to build a city safe room. Plans are to construct a 30x40 structure, adjacent to the current fire station, to be used as a public fallout shelter during bad weather or emergencies.

"The safe room can also double as a command center in an emergency," Blankenship said. "It will have both electrical outlets and back-up generators. Our architect is making the final drawings for the multipurpose room."

The fire department received a defibrillator earlier this year from the Craighead County Judge's office, accompanied with provision of Red Cross CPR and AED training. Eleven firemen have completed their training.

"We are constantly training our firemen and updating the equipment, in order to do the very best job possible," Blankenship said. "People's lives depend it. We not only want to protect the people who call on us for help, but our firemen as well. I am very proud of our dedicated firemen."

Monette firemen include Kevin Wimberley, Steve Haigwood, David Clark, Ronnie McCord, Bob Blankenship, Robert Chambers, Earl Smith, Wade Gathright, Mark Rolland, Bob Hurst, J.P. McCord, Aaron Uthoff, Andy Fletcher, Jered Rolland, Michael McFarlin, Tommy Carroll, Barry Kirby, Bobby Hurst, Jr., Bill Misner, Shawn Nance, and Kenneth Worthey.

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